Staff Retention Strategies
In the heart of America's bustling construction sites, amidst the rhythmic hum of manufacturing plants, and within the organized chaos of distribution warehouses, a pressing issue is echoing louder than the roar of machinery — the challenge of staff retention.
These employers are grappling with more than just the day's workload. They're wrestling with the reality of a labor shortage that's hitting the blue-collar industries hard.
A significant decrease in labor force participation has been attributed to aging workers, accounting for 70% of the decline since the end of 2019. And this issue is particularly prevalent in the trades. This means staff retention strategies should top your priority list.
There are a myriad of employee retention benefits, from saving costs associated with hiring and training new staff to maintaining a stable and experienced workforce that can drive productivity and growth.
A well-crafted retention strategy in HRM (Human Resource Management) is no longer a luxury, but a necessity in this fiercely competitive climate.
Understanding how to retain your best employees requires a deep dive into the needs and wants of your workforce. It requires dedication to:
- Creating an environment where employees feel valued, engaged, and see opportunities for growth
- Recognizing their hard work in harsh or dangerous environments
- Acknowledging their dedication
- Rewarding their loyalty
The meaning of retention strategies goes beyond just keeping employees from leaving. It's about fostering a culture where employees want to stay, grow, and contribute to the company's success.
At Team Engine, we're eager to help you tackle this retention strategies issue head-on, so that you can ensure the stability of our blue-collar workforce — the backbone of our economy. Here's how to retain your best employees.
Retention Meaning In HR
For the hardworking individuals in blue-collar sectors, the meaning of high employee retention takes on a whole new level of significance. Employee retention in these industries goes beyond mere numbers. Your crew is forming bonds, facing challenges together, and creating a sense of belonging in an environment that often feels like a second home.
On a practical level, the retention meaning in HR extends to the bottom line:
- Lower turnover costs
- Less time spent on recruitment
- A more experienced and knowledgeable workforce
When you achieve high employee retention, you lay the foundation for unparalleled productivity, consistent quality, and a thriving company culture.
How do you accomplish this level of engagement? Here's an employee retention formula that works:
Engagement and Growth Opportunities
In order for workers to feel engaged, they need to see opportunities for personal and professional growth. When employees feel that their skills are valued and that there's room to develop their expertise, they're more likely to commit for the long haul.
Recognition and Appreciation
In blue-collar fields, it's crucial that employers acknowledge the sweat and toil of employees who often work under harsh conditions. Recognizing their dedication through incentives, rewards, and public appreciation fosters a sense of pride and motivates them to continue giving it their best.
Workplace Culture and Cohesion
In the skilled trades, teamwork is vital. A strong company culture that promotes camaraderie and cohesion is a must. Creating a supportive work environment built on trust and respect can significantly improve employee retention rates.
The employee retention meaning in business is more than just a numbers game in industries like construction, manufacturing, distribution, and home services — you're preserving the stability of an important pillar of our economy, and nurturing a workforce to achieve success in difficult conditions.
Why Employee Retention Is Important
With high unemployment rates and a massive skilled labor shortage, proactive employee retention strategies aren't just beneficial, they're essential.
Here are a few statistics to illustrate the importance of high staff retention:
- Almost 1 in 5 workers leave their jobs within their first year, disrupting the flow of work and adding to recruitment and training costs.
- Every month, anywhere from 3-4.5 million employees choose to part ways with their jobs, creating an ongoing cycle of recruitment and training.
- The cost incurred due to employee turnover ranges from 20% to over 250% of an employee's annual salary.
The statistics above reinforce why employee retention is important. Every employee who stays is a testament to a company's culture and values. They're the ones who pass on skills and knowledge, who uphold standards of quality, and who help maintain the rhythm of productivity on the job site.
But maybe even more important is what high retention rates show prospective employees — that your company appreciates its workforce, invests in their growth and satisfaction, and is worth sticking around for.
In a competitive labor market, that gives you a major edge in attracting top talent.
Employee Retention Strategies
Employee retention strategies are what make a stable and productive workforce. Constant turnover in the trades does the opposite — causing disruptions, morale issues, safety risks, and a lack of productivity…
Here are a few recruitment and retention strategies to help you overcome the labor shortage and keep your best employees around:
- Understand Your Deskless Workforce: Get to know your employees, their motivations, their challenges, and their aspirations. This understanding can inform your retention strategy and help you create an environment that meets their needs.
- Offer Growth Opportunities: As we've discussed, opportunities for growth and development are crucial for employee retention. This could include training programs, mentorship, or clear paths for advancement.
- Create a Strong Company Culture: A positive, supportive company culture can be a powerful retention tool. This includes everything from the way conflicts are resolved to the way achievements are celebrated. Retention and motivation in HRM start with a unified team.
- Implement an Employee Retention Policy: Having a clear policy can provide a framework for your retention efforts. This policy might outline your approach to things like compensation, benefits, work-life balance, and recognition.
- Prioritize Communication: Consistent communication helps employees feel valued and heard. This could be as simple as regular check-ins or feedback sessions.
Finally, don't be afraid to get creative. Employee retention strategies that are truly effective often involve thinking outside the box. And many employee retention ideas don’t have to cost you any money. This could include anything from unique recognition programs to team-building activities that break the monotony and foster camaraderie.
But employee retention is an investment that pays off now and in the future. So if you want to maximize the stability of your blue-collar workforce, look for as many opportunities as possible to prioritize and optimize retention.
Employee Retention Examples
If you're wondering how to retain staff in a culture of high turnover, it can help to look to companies with the best employee retention programs.
Take O'Neal Steel, for example. They faced a common problem in the warehouse industry; the job was tough, with long hours on concrete floors, loud noise, and extreme temperature swings.
Employees on the warehouse floor often felt disconnected from the rest of the company, only getting attention when something wasn't up to standard.
This resulted in an alarmingly high employee turnover rate. Within the first 6 months of new employees joining the company, 3 out of 5 would leave! Can you imagine the hit to productivity and morale?
Recognizing the need for change, O'Neal Steel implemented a robust orientation program, aptly named "The 180 Day Experience".
This retention strategy example includes:
- Weekly 1-on-1 check-ins for the first month
- Monthly 1-on-1 check-ins for the following 5 months
- Periodic reminders with helpful information
- Periodic check-ins from HR
The result? A downward trend in turnover. New hires felt more engaged and invested in their jobs, leading to a significant reduction in early departures.
This employee retention case study serves as a powerful reminder that retention strategies don't have to be overly complicated or expensive. The important part is to make sure employees feel seen and heard.
And even in industries with traditionally high turnover rates, like manufacturing and distribution, creative and thoughtful employee retention strategies can make a significant difference.
While not every company will face the same challenges as O'Neal Steel, their approach provides a valuable blueprint for others.
It reveals the importance of:
- Understanding your workforce
- Implementing a clear employee retention policy
- Maintaining regular and open communication
Companies with the worst employee retention rates aren't necessarily those with the lowest wages or least benefits. Oftentimes, it's simply a lack of appreciation and connection that leads employees to look elsewhere for better opportunities.
How To Improve Employee Retention And Motivation
We've covered a lot of ground, from the gritty realities of the job site to the strategic planning of the HR office. But there are so many other strategies on how to improve employee retention and motivation throughout the employee journey…
Here are 4 more resources to help you through that lifecycle:
6 Retention Tactics for New Hires
The first few months of employment are crucial for setting the tone of an employee's experience. Regular check-ins, clear communication about expectations, and opportunities for feedback can help new hires feel supported and engaged.
6 Tips for Retaining Seasonal Employees
Seasonal employees can be a valuable asset, but retaining them can be a challenge. Offering competitive wages, providing a positive work environment, and showing appreciation can help keep these employees coming back season after season.
Employee Appreciation Ideas to Boost Retention in Skilled Trades
Recognizing the hard work of your employees can go a long way in making them feel valued and appreciated. This could be as simple as a shout-out during a team meeting, or as elaborate as an Employee of the Month program. The key is to make sure your employees know their efforts are noticed and appreciated.
How to Reconnect With Your Employees Before It's Too Late
The "Great Resignation" has led many companies to reevaluate their employee retention playbook. Now is the time to reconnect with your employees, understand their needs, and implement changes to retain your top talent.
At the end of the day, retention comes down to engagement, and that’s a function of consistency. Automation can help you consistently touch base with candidates and employees to keep them engaged and to ensure their needs are being met.
Team Engine can help automate these touchpoints, allowing you to focus on building a strong, dedicated workforce. Start your risk-free trial today and take the first step towards improving your employee retention rate.